Batla House Encounter: Teachers slam Cops

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The Jamia teachers' Solidarity Group (JTSG) releases a hard-hitting report, ‘Encounter at Batla House: Unanswered Questions' unplugging the loopholes in the police version. The well researched report was released by senior Supreme Court lawyer Colin Gonsalves and Human rights activist Arundhati Roy

Samarth Pathak New Delhi, Hardnews

The Jamia teachers' Solidarity Group (JTSG) released a hard-hitting report, ‘Encounter at Batla House: Unanswered Questions' on Friday in New Delhi. Unplugging the loopholes in the police version, the well researched report was released by senior Supreme Court lawyer Colin Gonsalves and Human rights activist Arundhati Roy. Demanding a judicial probe into the incident, JTSG blasted the callous and irresponsible attitude of the police.

Manisha Sethi of JTSG told Hardnews, "The Delhi police had stated that the occupants of L-18 at Batla house had been under surveillance since July 28. Then how did the Delhi blasts take place on September 13? The police have flouted many laws in its handling of the investigations. Atif Amin was alleged to be killed in cross fire, but his back skin was severely bruised and peeled off. It appears as if he was tortured prior to being killed. Mohd Sajid (17) was a legal minor, and his post mortem reports reveal that he received multiple bullet injuries on his head. This would only be possible if he was sitting or kneeling, and was shot from above. There are just too many ambiguities which need to be resolved,".

The report takes into consideration eyewitness accounts, testimonies of the families of the accused, media reports, contradicting police statements and medical reports. It is comprehensive, to the point and touches the right spot. The report comes at a crucial time as the Mumbai police filed a chargesheet against 21 alleged Indian Mujahideen terrorists recently. Arundhati Roy stated, "This is an extraordinary piece of work. It is really sad that the media, police and government are working in collusion with each other to break the foundations of our democracy. I appeal to all Indians to not think of themselves as victims, because this would only breed more violence and hate. We must emerge as a force by uniting against such injustice, and must strongly voice our opinions."  

The questions raised by the report are thought provoking:

1.) There were multiple bullet marks on the skull of Mohd Sajid, 17, which could be possible only if he was made to sit first and then shot in cold blood from above. Atif's back appeared to be skinned, as though he was dragged on a rough surface. Why then did the police claim that "there are no injuries on the bodies of Atif and Sajid except those inflicted by bullets"? (The Times of India, Oct 9, 2008). More importantly, why are the post-mortem reports of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma and Atif and Sajid not being made public?

2.) The sketches of the suspects in the Delhi blasts, released by the police, do not match the descriptions of those killed. Did the police conduct a Test Identification Parade (TIP) by eyewitnesses before the burial of the slain ‘terrorists'?

3.) Tauqeer alias Abdul Subhan was deemed the "mastermind" behind all blasts across the country. The media lapped up the story and declared him as the main criminal-terrorist. It was even reported that a nationwide search for him was on by special teams of the Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad police. However, the chargesheet filed by the Delhi police does not mention Tauqeer at all. In fact, Mumbai's Joint Commissioner of Police, Rakesh Maria, claimed recently that Tauqeer was a "mere media creation". (TOI, October 7, 2008). What then, happened to Tauqeer, who was even called India's Osama by the media?

4.) The police claimed that the ‘terrorists' were armed with two AK-47s in Batla House. This has not been verified.

5.) If they were firing in the air from the rooftop, as locals say, what was the motive behind it?

6.) Legal requirements were blatantly flouted with regard to seizures. The police are required to prepare a seizure list of all items recovered from the site and it should be attested to by two public witness unconnected with the police. So why didn't the police do that on the spot?

7) Why didn't the police not show anyone the faces of the victims of the encounter killings?